Milton Keynes City Council in partnership with Thames Valley Police has formed a new team to focus on protecting children and young people (aged 12 to 25) outside of the home.
The 17-strong team includes social workers, police officers and youth intervention specialists. They will support young people where risks have been identified about their life outside of the home. This may include concerns around grooming or association with gangs and exploitation.
Following a referral via the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH), the team develops tailored plans which will give young people access to a variety of resources including youth work, mental health support, sports outreach and specialist education.
“By working in partnership with local police, our new team can provide access to resources that can help young people to make a positive change. It’s really important to understand their individual needs which is why the plans we develop are led by the young people. This new team is part of a much broader approach in Milton Keynes that offers help at the earliest opportunity to those who may otherwise be abused or exploited.” - Cllr Jane Carr, Cabinet member for Inequalities and Child Poverty
“Many of the young people this team will be working with are at risk of being exploited or going missing. This new service is essential if we are to positively engage, protect and support them. The recent presence of the Knife Angel and its impact on so many people who visited the sculpture show us how strongly residents want the young people in our city to be free from violence.” - Cllr Zoe Nolan, Cabinet Member for Children and Families
Milton Keynes City Council’s early support for young people at risk of being involved in knife crime has been praised by the Ministry of Justice. They singled out the City Council’s “proven and effective” Early Support Project in new national guidance to be used by other Youth Justice and Youth Offending Teams.
The City Council’s dedicated Youth Offending Team was recently renamed the Youth Justice and Support Service to better represent the young people they work with. The service works with many young people who are themselves victims of crime and not solely perpetrators.